Bought 2 of these, one for the wife and one for me. We have a project we are doing that required cutting lots of MDF(medium density fiberboard) which is not good for you to breathe or get in your eyes (very tiny particles). I picked these because people said they worked well with glasses (which i wear) and because they had full protection from flying debris and also from the airborne dust.
Carefully lay the top down and attach pipe clamps at roughly 1' intervals. Slowly tighten each pipe clamp in a consistent fashion until the gaps disappear. Small amounts of glue can be removed when dry; scrape up any puddled glue with a plastic putty knife. To minimize sanding later, avoid working glue into the top of the wood. Let the top set overnight.
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This is a unique and cherished tool in my shop. 30 years ago my brother was a nuclear pipe welder at a federal submarine yard. He made this there and came home with it one day. The blade is submarine hull steel, Nickel Cobalt. I’ve never been able to sharpen it and it’s never really gotten dull. I had a diamond stone but quickly stopped using it as the diamond dust was being stripped off the stone. It has nostalgic and useful meaning to me.
Here’s an old woodworking adage I enjoy ignoring: “measure twice, cut once.” Honestly, I measure nonce and cut thrice. I often eyeball it. I use pieces I’ve already cut to measure what I need to cut. It’s not a great habit, but I prefer it to measuring everything. And the results usually aren’t that different. At least that’s what I tell myself. I ended up having to sand down the ends of the 2×12’s running the length of the table (where they meet the aprons) because they weren’t exactly the same length.
Even a small tabletop presents a challenge if the boards you glued together have stepped-shaped misalignments where they meet because of warping. Yes, you can sand these off, but the more topographical sanding you need to do, the less flat and regular your finished tabletop will be. The flatter and better aligned your boards are when they’re in the clamps, the happier you’ll be later. This is where end clamps and gluing cauls can help.
Just redid my dining room table with this technique and I an observation/suggestion others might find helpful. The boards did not line up well putting it together upside down, even on a flat concrete floor with me standing on the boards while they were screwed. I would have combined biscuits with the pocket holes to ensure a better alignment of the boards. Lots of sanding was required after assembly, and this might not be a huge deal with pine, but I used hard maple so it was quite a chore even with a belt sander. Also, be aware that the 1x2s around the edge may not line up perfectly -- I had to trim about an eighth inch from each side after assembly to get nice smooth, even edges. Not a big deal, but the top turned out a little smaller than the specifications I was give by SheWhoMustBeObeyed. Otherwise our table now looks great, and thank you for the post!